Tuesday, July 14, 2009

supply and demand

My perfect, adorable niece is 2 years old. And struggling with the concept of sharing. My sister is a bit frustrated with the shrill and constant insistence of "MINE." With the ruthless combination of gleaming hardwood floors and 14 ft ceilings their house is a resonating sound box for the possessive declarations. And I think it's getting old.

So she's wondering how best to teach her daughter that, in fact, some things are NOT hers.

But really, that's a tough lesson to teach. It takes years and years to develop an innate sense of sharing. A mental framework that subconsciously guides each of us to determine what is OURS and what is not. What we can give up and what we don't need to. How we split what we have and what is considered selfish.

And this morning the ear doctor and I realized that we approach this dilemma from two very different camps.

On Saturday we went to Costco and picked up our first (of many I'm sure) flat of peaches. There were 12 in all. Almost immediately, we both had one on Saturday. Then we shared one on Sunday. Then I took one to work yesterday and had another for breakfast this morning. So out of 12 how many are left?


As I sliced up my peach this morning I could feel that the ear doctor had something he wanted to say...but couldn't get it out. We sat at the table and I knew there was something on the tip of his tongue. And as I was fishing the last of my cheerios out of the milk he turned to me and said, "We share differently. For you sharing is time limited. There is a certain amount of something and we both have equal opportunity to get some but when the supply is gone it is gone. You have a limited amount of time."

I thought that was kind of funny...but true. So then he continued, "For me, sharing is number limited. If there are 12 peaches and two of us then, to me, that means we both get 6 regardless of how long they last."

He likes to savor, to wait for the perfect time to eat his "peaches" in life. But I like to experience things over and over and over.

And this whole time I've been eating the "peaches" he'd set aside for himself because I thought he didn't want them. I didn't see him eating them and I didn't want them to go to waste.

How do you share? Do you and your significant other share the same way? Do you find yourself eating their peaches, or having yours stolen? Has it ever caused a problem?


Morgan said...

Oh man, I love those Costco peaches! Thankfully, my husband doesn't like peaches that much and I don't get give the kids a choice, so I eat the whole thing myself! :) I guess that's how we share. haha

Jessica said...

We are just like you guys, except our roles are reversed. It has caused a little friction at times, like when he ate the rest of my saved candy bar while I was sleeping even though he'd already had an entire bar to himself. Or when he's claimed to have saved the last cookie or candy for me, only to discover he's eaten it because I took to long to eat it myself. He's learned to be better about that though.

Dan's mom said...

I'm not sure the "time stamp" way of reconing is really consistant with the spirit of sharing - it seems more like "you snooze, you lose". I wonder if birthorder affects the concept of sharing? "Onlies" don't get a vote in this as they rarely experince enforced sharing. Would you feel differently about yuor time stamp if the ear doctor had eaten the majority of the peaches while he was working from home?
Interesting discussion.

Mo said...

We typically only count items when we eat sushi. Our favorites are salmon and tuna, so if one of us already had the tuna, the other gets the salmon.
But I'm like the ear doctor, I like to save things too! Sometimes the boy just thinks I don't like the item when in fact I like it the best.

Great post!

Heather said...

I am the same way as you, but only about fruits or things that could go bad because I hate wasting food! So, if I think of it, I will eat some. And Matt pretty much never thinks about the things we have to eat at home. So I'll usually remind him and he'll have one, and I'll end up eating the rest. Maybe I should start packing his lunches for him... I don't think so.

Robyn said...

We have the same issue... reversed. I savor. I save and save. I even hide stuff from myself and from Todd to keep it longer. I don't have a problem with him gobbling the perishables so much. I'd hate to see them go to waste too. It's sweets that he's too fast for me on. Candy bars from English relatives have a special place in the back of the cupboard, and Todd knows that we'll share them when I'm good and ready. Otherwise he'd eat them all up all at once, and I'd be bummed that I only had that first one and wasn't fast enough to grab my share.

Maggie said...

I share by time as well, but I always make sure that if it's something Dan likes then the last one goes to him.

Reb said...

My Husband is a bit like Joey from friends, he has a hard time sharing from his own plate. I however, always want WHATEVER it is he has. So he's had to bend a little. Now, "Jebby does share." But he's still pretty possessive. As for me, take it, what's mine is yours whenever you want it. Just ask so I know I am not losing my mind when I cannot find it.

Courtney said...

Kyle and I seem to follow the timed sharing rule until we get to the last two peaches. Then, it seems, no matter who ate the first 10, we each get one of the final two.

So I guess we sort of compromise between the two sharing methods.

dad said...

I eat everything because your Mother refuses to go to the store. I buy what I want and I eat what I want. It's a battle.